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Over 60 Organ Transplants Cancelled Due to Lack of Resources; 3 Hospitals Perform Large Share of Transplant Operations

More than 60 cases of organs from brain-dead donors not being accepted due to shortages of hospital beds and human resources were recorded last year at three university hospitals. The University of Tokyo Hospital, Kyoto University Hospital and Tohoku University Hospital, are the top three institutions in terms of the number of transplant operations.

The University of Tokyo Hospital was not able to perform at least 35 such operations — more than four times the number in 2022. There were also such cases at the other two hospitals.

An increase in the number of organ donations and the concentration of requests for organs at a limited number of transplant facilities are seen as the reasons behind the increase in refusals, highlighting the inadequate system for such operations.

According to the research by The Yomiuri Shimbun, a total of 352 heart, lung and liver transplants from brain-dead donors were performed nationwide last year. Of the total, 88 were performed at the University of Tokyo Hospital, followed by 36 at Kyoto University Hospital and 34 at Tohoku University Hospital.

There were 35 cases where the University of Tokyo Hospital declined to accept organs (10 cases for heart transplants, 14 for lung transplants and 11 for liver transplants). Failure to secure nurses and clinical engineers for the operations and a lack of intensive care units (ICUs) for postoperative patients were reasons for the refusals given by the hospital. Only 8 such cases were recorded in 2022.

Kyoto University Hospital revealed that it had declined to accept organs in about 20 cases of lung and liver transplants due to a shortage of ICUs and anesthetists. Tohoku University Hospital also stated that there were seven cases of lung transplants being canceled due to a shortage of doctors involved in surgery.